Bird accepts penalty that took away race win

by Scott Douglas

Sam Bird has said that he accepts the decision taken by race stewards at the Hong Kong ePrix that took away his victory.

The Envision Virgin Racing driver crossed the line in first place, but only after making contact with the DS Techeetah of Andre Lotterer on the penultimate lap.

The collision led to Lotterer’s tyre delaminating and caused him to retire, allowing Bird a clear drive to the finish.

However several hours after the race Bird was handed a five-second penalty which dropped him down the order to sixth place.

Speaking afterwards Bird said, “Of course, it’s a shame the race ended the way it did, but I accept the stewards’ decision regarding the incident with Andre.

“As a team, we still came away with some good points, especially after a difficult qualifying session, and we know we have the pace to compete at the front, which gives us confidence moving forward.

“We’ll now just regroup, put it behind us and look to do our best at the next race in Sanya.”

The Virgin team also rallied around Bird after the incident, saying that the Brit wasn’t the type of driver who would have deliberately tried to gain from the contact with Lotterer.

“This is not the race result any of us wanted,” Managing Director of Virgin Racing Sylvain Filippi said, “Anyone who knows Sam, knows he is a fair driver and Andre’s puncture was an unfortunate outcome of a great battle for the lead.

“We accepted the penalty when it was delivered by the FIA Stewards.

“Of course, it is costly to us, but we now look forward to the next races, where I am sure the fans will enjoy a lot more close racing.”

Despite the penalty, Bird and Virgin lead both the driver’s and team’s championships after five rounds, although Bird only leads the former by a single point over Jerome d’Ambrosio.

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